We pick our best and worst boxing movies

Rocky on top of the Philadelphia steps.
Rocky on top of the Philadelphia steps. Photo credit: YouTube

Can't wait for the Joseph Parker v Anthony Joshua fight, or just want to get into the boxing mood, then settle down on the sofa with a bag of popcorn and watch these classic fight movies.


Raging Bull

Martin Scorsese's biopic of Jake La Motta is arguably the grittiest boxing movie ever made. Robert de Niro plays La Motta, who was one of the greatest if not most flawed fighters of all time. He was a thug in the ring, a bullying wife-beater outside as well as being tied to the mob. De Niro used all his method acting skills and combined with Scorsese to produce a knockout movie.

Five gloves

When We Were Kings

When Mohamed Ali headed to Zaire in 1976 to fight George Foreman no one gave him a chance of winning. The resulting rope-a-dope fight is now regarded as one of the best ever. The whole thing is beautifully recorded in this documentary that is a must watch for any fight fan.

Five gloves

Million Dollar Baby

Clint Eastwood's 2004 Oscar-winning film has Hilary Swank as a determined woman working with a hardened boxing trainer (Eastwood) to become a professional. Fourteen years on and the film's punch in the gut ending still has people talking.


Written and directed by a then relatively unknown Sylvester Stallone, Rocky ended up as an Oscar winning, box-office success. It also launched Stallone into the big time. Famed for its "Adrienne," line the film portrays a down-on-his luck boxer who gets a shot at the big time. 

Four gloves

The Fighter

Based on the true story of Irish Micky Ward, the fighter is a story of two boxing brothers who both battle demons outside the ring. Christian Bale won an Oscar for his portrayal of Micky's drug addicted brother Dale. Micky Ward was never the best or most exciting fighter, but he made the most of his talents and takes his shot at glory.

Four gloves

The Fits

While training to be a boxer at the gym with her older brother, 11-year-old tomboy Toni becomes entranced with a dance troupe. As she struggles to fit in she finds herself caught up in danger as the group begins to suffer from fainting spells and other violent fits. While not entirely about boxing, newcomer Royalty Hightower's understated performance makes Anna Rose Holmer's feature directorial debut worth the watch. 

Four gloves

And a couple of the worst.


The Calcium Kid

Following a bizarre series of events, Jimmy, a local amateur boxer, finds himself pitted in a match against the world champion. More of a film about Orlando Bloom drinking milk than anything else, this is one you can probably skip.

One glove

Rocky IV

By Rocky IV the film franchise had disintegrated into little more than a money generating operation. Sylvester Stallone plays an aging Rocky who faces off against Dolph Lundgren's Russian fighter Drago.  Drago kills Apollo Creed in an exhibition fight and beats Rocky in a title fight. They then head to Moscow for a fight with more than the Heavyweight title at stake. Released in the depth of the Cold War, Rocky IV was little more than a piece of American propaganda and the final scene, as the Russian crowd start chanting Rocky's name, is vomit inducing.

One glove


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